A second prototype of SpaceX’s Starship reusable launch vehicle performed a suborbital flight Feb. SpaceX planned to fly the vehicle to an altitude of 10 kilometers before landing on a pad at the test site. The liftoff and ascent of the vehicle went as expected, according to commentary on the SpaceX webcast by company engineer John Insprucker. The vehicle reached the 10-kilometer mark four minutes after liftoff and, after hovering briefly, flipped to a horizontal orientation to glide back to the landing pad.
The vehicle crashed at close to a 45-degree angle and exploded 6 minutes and 26 seconds after liftoff. That vehicle made what appeared to be a largely successful flight until landing, when an engine failed to ignite and the vehicle came in too quickly,exploding as it hit the pad. However, on that flight the vehicle was in the proper vertical orientation for landing, rather than at an angle as with SN9’s attempted landing.